South Bank proposals have drawn criticism from local groups who say it is too big for area

Three firms are understood to be in the running for a controversial scheme to knock down ITV’s historic London Studios on the South Bank and replace them with a £400m office complex with a 26-storey tower at its heart.

The plot was bought by developers Mitsubishi Estate and CO-RE for close to £150m in November 2019 with its neighbours including the IBM building, the National Theatre, both listed, and the Roupell Street conservation area.

The plans, drawn up by Make Architects, went in to Lambeth planners last summer but no decision has been made with the consultation period on the plans ending earlier this month.

72 upper ground

The scheme on London’s South Bank will include a 26-storey block at its centre

A date has not yet been set for when the planning committee hearing will take place but last summer the project team said it was hoping to start construction this year with work due to finish in 2026.

Building understands Lendlease, Sir Robert McAlpine and Laing O’Rourke are all looking at the job known as 72 Upper Ground.

The work is believed to have a price tag of between £300m and £400m meaning it will be one of the capital’s most significant new builds in the coming years.

Others working on the deal include QS Alinea, landscape architect Grant Associates and engineer Arup.

As well as the 26-storey block, the scheme will also include two smaller buildings of 13 and six storeys along with retail, cultural space and two new public squares. Total office space will be around 900,000 sq ft with capacity for up to 5,000 people.

Make said the 13-storey building, which will sit on the riverfront, has been designed to be “deferential” to the nearby IBM building, itself due to get a £120m makeover, and National Theatre, both designed by Denys Lasdun.

72 upper ground 1

The development will include new public spaces

But local community groups have raised concerns about the impact on daylight, sunlight and the whole character of the South Bank.

According to Lambeth’s planning website, more than 280 comments have been made about the plans with over 240 objecting including Coin Street Community Builders and the Waterloo Community Development Group, which led the campaign against the Garden Bridge, who described the proposals as “grotesquery on steroids, a swollen deformity for the South Bank”.

Historic England and the Twentieth Century Society have also raised concerns about views along the South Bank towards St Paul’s Cathedral and the impact on nearby listed buildings.

The site at 72 Upper Ground was where some of ITV’s best-known shows of recent years were made including This Morning, Loose Women, Lorraine and Good Morning Britain.